Anyone who has spent enough time around a lake has probably spotted carp jumping out of the water. To many anglers, there is no more glorious sight than seeing a specimen carp launching itself out of the water.
It is, after all, one of the reasons anglers enjoy fishing, to see these wonderful fish. But let’s be honest, we’ve all wondered at some point why carp jump out of the water.
In this article, we take a look at exactly what causes this behavior and how you can even potentially use it to your advantage if you are an angler looking to hook one of these beautiful fish.
There are usually three main reasons carp jump out of the water:
- Anatomical reasons
- Personal hygiene reasons
- For pure fun
We will now look at each of these reasons in a bit more detail before moving on to some of the different types of jumping you might see carp doing.
The most common cause of carp jumping out of the water is anatomical. Fish have something called swim bladders which control their buoyancy in the water. This is important because it allows them to swim at different depths.
When a carp travels from deep down up towards the surface, the pressure on their swim bladder increases and so by jumping out of the water and expelling air from their swim bladder, the pressure is relieved, and the carp can then swim properly nearer the surface.
Biologically speaking, the swim bladder is connected to the esophagus.
When carp do their jumping thing, they are forcing air in or out of the swim bladder through their esophagus, which then allows them to change depths when they re-enter the water.
The reason you don’t really see carp jumping in shallow waters is because the water is not that deep which means that even on the bottom, the pressure isn’t so great that the carp needs to adjust its swim bladders. Furthermore, carp can reach new depths without having to jump out of the water.
Another reason carp jump out of the water is to clean out their gills. It is the equivalent of you or me taking a shower.
Carp are usually bottom feeders. As they are sucking up food from the bed of the lake or river it is quite common for them to get dirt and debris stuck in their gills.
The carp jumps up and out of the water and, as it heads back down, the water breaks through their gills and washes away any debris that may be lingering there.
There are a number of parasites that latch onto carp. Doing their jumping thing can help them rid themselves of these parasites by forcefully washing out their gills as they hit the water at speed.
For Pure Fun
There are many aquatic species, fish and mammals, that like to simply have fun in the water. Dolphins, for example, are well-known to jump for pure fun and, just in case you are wondering, no dolphins are not fish. They are warm-blooded mammals!
That’s right, who says a carp can’t just jump for pure fun?
As any angler will tell you, there are some days when carp spend the entire day jumping up and out of the water, and yet no one around the lake gets a single bite. The fish are clearly not feeding on such days so why are they jumping?
For pure fun!
The Different Types of Jumping Carp Do
Carp jump in a number of different ways and by paying close attention to how they are jumping, anglers can glean valuable insights that potentially help them land one.
There are commonly four main types of jump. There is no real consensus on the terminology for these jumps so here we will refer to them as:
- The Full Glorious Jump
- The Half-hearted Jump
- The Peekaboo
- The Roll
I hope this article has given you a clearer understanding of what makes carp jump. By understanding this, you can up your game and increase your chances of catching a lovely specimen!
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